Compilations?

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So I know there's a Defensive Fighting handbook. Are there any similar things for, say, Power Attack, or grappling, which anyone knows of?
I've been writing a guidebook to 3.5 conventional wisdom for a while now (backburner compared to my research and our build showcases though), and it's got a section almost ready to go on power attacking.

Nutshell: Use a two-handed (and ideally reach) weapon, look for multipliers, and remember that Leap Attack and the Frenzied Berserker's boosts were erratad to be additive. Also, it really, really helps to build a quick spreadsheet for assorted Power Attack values to account for enemy AC, miss chances, and other things that lower your chances to hit and thus your expected damage. Max PA may not always be the best course of action.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

For grappling if you type "black blood cultist handbook" into google there is everything grappling related in there. I would link but I'm on my phone :/
Max PA may not always be the best course of action.

That's incorrect. There is never any circumstance where not power attacking for full is the best option. Your attack bonus should be high enough at any given time to hit enough.

@OP: The simple answer is yes, and here it is. In order don't, always max it, and really, really don't.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Max PA may not always be the best course of action.

That's incorrect. There is never any circumstance where not power attacking for full is the best option. Your attack bonus should be high enough at any given time to hit enough.

@OP: The simple answer is yes, and here it is. In order don't, always max it, and really, really don't.



Elusive target would disagree with you on that.
Elusive target would disagree with you on that.


A niche one, but an important one. Also, when attacking a target with attack negation (eg. Wall of Blades style effects) or when fighting multiple foes in a full attack, you will find attacks aimed at targets at base attack bonuses lower than your maximum. While it's not difficult to get your best attack to basically autohit, your subsequent ones are an uphill battle, and if you need them to hit, a lower PA can result in higher expected damage. There are also builds that rely on attack rolls that will not benefit from power attack (although this is splitting hairs, it does mean "max PA may not always be the best course of action" and that "there is never any circumstance where not power attacking for full is the best option" is false) - one example would be Edge of the Light from my sig, on the opening round (he's taking max penalty on Combat Expertise there to feed huge numbers forward for offense, but the numbers get bigger if the attacks hit at all - the optimal PA in that situation is 0). 

Against single targets without Elusive Target or attack negation, a full PA is a great default. But it's not the only option. Be aware of your build and your situation.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Elusive target would disagree with you on that.

No, it doesn't. Because nobody takes it.
A niche one, but an important one. Also, when attacking a target with attack negation (eg. Wall of Blades style effects)

Then hit them twice. They only have one immediate action.
or when fighting multiple foes in a full attack, you will find attacks aimed at targets at base attack bonuses lower than your maximum. While it's not difficult to get your best attack to basically autohit, your subsequent ones are an uphill battle, and if you need them to hit, a lower PA can result in higher expected damage.

Except if your best attack is an autohit, at least one more attack should hit. And that means two dead opponents. Better than three or four injured ones.
There are also builds that rely on attack rolls that will not benefit from power attack (although this is splitting hairs, it does mean "max PA may not always be the best course of action" and that "there is never any circumstance where not power attacking for full is the best option" is false) - one example would be Edge of the Light from my sig, on the opening round (he's taking max penalty on Combat Expertise there to feed huge numbers forward for offense, but the numbers get bigger if the attacks hit at all - the optimal PA in that situation is 0).

Fine, I concede that, if you build specifically to avoid always max power attack, then power attacking isn't the best move. Whoda thunk, eh?
Against single targets without Elusive Target or attack negation, a full PA is a great default. But it's not the only option. Be aware of your build and your situation.

Not really. Nobody actually takes Elusive Target. It's like comparing something to a Matrix sequal; sure, it's nice and all, but it would work better if there was such a thing as a Matrix sequel.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Thats a pretty big assertion that no one ever takes elusive target. I've seen the feat used several times in a couple of different groups (particularly in some rather nice twf builds). The long and short of it is if your group expects you to use beef cake smack down tactics all the time, odds are your going to see the feat in use at one point or another.
Thats a pretty big assertion that no one ever takes elusive target.

No, not really. It's a downright garbage feat, with even worse prereqs.
I've seen the feat used several times in a couple of different groups (particularly in some rather nice twf builds).

First off, I hardly see how some poorly-optimized builds are relevent. Second off, good and TWF are mutually exclusive. Simple mathematics.
The long and short of it is if your group expects you to use beef cake smack down tactics all the time, odds are your going to see the feat in use at one point or another.

No, you won't. Because it sucks. Pathetically minor protection against a specific target? Maybe if it said "Any attack where the attacker is using power attack automatically misses," it might be worth it. But it doesn't. "Not getting killed" isn't a worthwhile feat investment. Killing the enemies is infinitely more efficient.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I've seen the feat used several times in a couple of different groups (particularly in some rather nice twf builds).

I hardly see how some poorly-optimized builds are relevent.

You said no build uses elusive target. He points out that at least one build has used elusive target. This proves your statement wrong. It's an issue of basic logic.


Likely, you meant that no well-optimized build uses elusive target. However, since you couldn't be bothered to say what you meant, you instead posted a demonstrably false claim that made you look foolish.


Fine, I concede that, if you build specifically to avoid always max power attack, then power attacking isn't the best move. Whoda thunk, eh?

As you imply, it's quite obvious that some niche situation can be contrived when power attacking for your full base attack bonus isn't the best choice. Far from being a defense, this only highlights how foolish it was for you to claim the opposite.


Likely, you meant that power attacking for your full base attack bonus is usually the best choice. You may have intended the stronger assertion that it's virtually always the best choice. No one but you knows, because you couldn't be bothered to accurately put your thoughts into words.

You said no build uses elusive target. He points out that at least one build has used elusive target. This proves your statement wrong. It's an issue of basic logic.

Likely, you meant that no well-optimized build uses elusive target. However, since you couldn't be bothered to say what you meant, you instead posted a demonstrably false claim that made you look foolish.



Considering Cyclone_Joker is on record referring to our Evasion Tank as a "great build", and the Evasion Tank makes use of Elusive Target (awful prereqs and all), and CJ's identical rhetorical style to EA, one would assume that even that second statement isn't completely true, either.

I say this while agreeing that competent warriors should probably default to full Power Attack. 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I've seen the feat used several times in a couple of different groups (particularly in some rather nice twf builds).

I hardly see how some poorly-optimized builds are relevent.

You said no build uses elusive target. He points out that at least one build has used elusive target. This proves your statement wrong. It's an issue of basic logic.

No, it isn't. Because in an online discussion of optimization, poorly optimized or unoptimized builds just don't matter. Just because one can take a build involving several levels of commoner, reaping mauler, and and take nothing but prereqs, weapon focus, and Skill Focus(Speak Language), it doesn't matter.
Likely, you meant that no well-optimized build uses elusive target. However, since you couldn't be bothered to say what you meant, you instead posted a demonstrably false claim that made you look foolish.

In a discussion off optimization, the two are synonymous.
Fine, I concede that, if you build specifically to avoid always max power attack, then power attacking isn't the best move. Whoda thunk, eh?

As you imply, it's quite obvious that some niche situation can be contrived when power attacking for your full base attack bonus isn't the best choice. Far from being a defense, this only highlights how foolish it was for you to claim the opposite.

No, not really. Coming up with bizarre niche situations is not a valid rebuttal.
Likely, you meant that power attacking for your full base attack bonus is usually the best choice. You may have intended the stronger assertion that it's virtually always the best choice. No one but you knows, because you couldn't be bothered to accurately put your thoughts into words.

Again, nope.
Considering Cyclone_Joker is on record referring to our Evasion Tank as a "great build", and the Evasion Tank makes use of Elusive Target (awful prereqs and all), and CJ's identical rhetorical style to EA, one would assume that even that second statement isn't completely true, either.

To be fair to CJ, "great build" doesn't mean "flawless build."
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Considering Cyclone_Joker is on record referring to our Evasion Tank as a "great build", and the Evasion Tank makes use of Elusive Target (awful prereqs and all), and CJ's identical rhetorical style to EA, one would assume that even that second statement isn't completely true, either.

To be fair to CJ, "great build" doesn't mean "flawless build."

That's entirely possible, though we'd really have to hear from CJ to know his opinion on the matter.

But then, "flawless" isn't necessary, since a "great" build is a valid enough description for "well-optimized" in the context of optimization.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
That's entirely possible, though we'd really have to hear from CJ to know his opinion on the matter.

Fair enough.
But then, "flawless" isn't necessary, since a "great" build is a valid enough description for "well-optimized" in the context of optimization.

I dunno. I'm having trouble seeing any justification for such a waste in the build. And if there isn't, then, by definition, it's poorly optimized, or at least not well-optimized.

Thenagain, that sort of choice is frequent in almost all of AR's more recent showcase builds(No offense meant, AR, I just believe your earlier builds were much more elegant and well-crafted).
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Max PA may not always be the best course of action.

That's incorrect. There is never any circumstance where not power attacking for full is the best option. Your attack bonus should be high enough at any given time to hit enough.

As a point of information, you effectively just saying that using PA is the best course of action when using PA is the best course of action. Maybe your AB should be high enough, but if it's not, you should be thinking about not using PA. Plus you have those iterative attacks you might want to hit, too.

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a discussion about PA, only that I know there are plenty of things like Leap Attack and Cobalt Power which work with it and wondering if anyone had ever put together a list. TBH I'm more interested in grappling but I was curious about others. I'll check out the Black Blood Cultist Handbook.
BBC Handbook is cool, though it's centred around that specific PrC, and a bit outdated (where are my Girallon Arms!?)
I've seen the feat used several times in a couple of different groups (particularly in some rather nice twf builds).

I hardly see how some poorly-optimized builds are relevent.

You said no build uses elusive target. He points out that at least one build has used elusive target. This proves your statement wrong. It's an issue of basic logic.

No, it isn't. Because in an online discussion of optimization, poorly optimized or unoptimized builds just don't matter. Just because one can take a build involving several levels of commoner, reaping mauler, and and take nothing but prereqs, weapon focus, and Skill Focus(Speak Language), it doesn't matter.



The simple matter is you made the assertion that no one takes the feat ever. Your clearly wrong on that. Even if you want to go back and make the amendment that no good build would make use of it you would still be wrong just on the basses of the evasion tank alone, not to mention any other possible progressions most anyone could come up with with a little thought on the matter. On that note, even if the evasion tank isn't "flawless", I compel you to find a build that is save for pun pun or the Omniscificer.

To say that the feat is bad because it doesn't kill the enemy is also a bad argument since living long enough to do anything is key in any kind of combat role. After all it's kind of hard to kill someone when you yourself are dead from their full power leap attack with the full serving of uber charger sauce. By investing in a few feats and using a reach weapon you can effectively shut down the primary damage source for most melee specialists at any time you take an action by designating them as your dodge. I honestly think you seriously undervalue the ability of this feat when used properly.
The simple matter is you made the assertion that no one takes the feat ever. Your clearly wrong on that. Even if you want to go back and make the amendment that no good build would make use of it you would still be wrong just on the basses of the evasion tank alone, not to mention any other possible progressions most anyone could come up with with a little thought on the matter. On that note, even if the evasion tank isn't "flawless", I compel you to find a build that is save for pun pun or the Omniscificer.

Wizard 5/Mindbender 1/Incantatrix 10/Divine Oracle 3/Sacred Exorcist 1.

Bard 7/Abjurant Champion 2/Divine Crusader 1/Sublime Chord 1/Mystic Theurge 9.

I can think of several more builds if you want. There's actually a great Bard one with Iniate of Mili stored around somewhere. 

But flawlessness aside, no. You're wrong. Because in a discussion of optimized builds, Skill Focus(Speak Language) doesn't exist.
To say that the feat is bad because it doesn't kill the enemy is also a bad argument since living long enough to do anything is key in any kind of combat role. After all it's kind of hard to kill someone when you yourself are dead from their full power leap attack with the full serving of uber charger sauce. By investing in a few feats and using a reach weapon you can effectively shut down the primary damage source for most melee specialists at any time you take an action by designating them as your dodge. I honestly think you seriously undervalue the ability of this feat when used properly.

And this is how I know you aren't used to people knowing their stuff. Immediate action teleport cloak from DotU. Never leave home without it. Basic protections are something you should have with WBL, not by wasting feats.

You are wrong. It's a truly awful feat.Worse than SF(Speak Language) under most circumstances.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
if you just want a list of feats:
Awesome smite
brutal strike
brute fighting
combat brute
cobalt power
dragonfire assault
favored powerattack
flay
knockback
leap attack
ragewild fighting
shock trooper
there are probably more and this should be not rating on them to be good
The simple matter is you made the assertion that no one takes the feat ever. Your clearly wrong on that. Even if you want to go back and make the amendment that no good build would make use of it you would still be wrong just on the basses of the evasion tank alone, not to mention any other possible progressions most anyone could come up with with a little thought on the matter. On that note, even if the evasion tank isn't "flawless", I compel you to find a build that is save for pun pun or the Omniscificer.

Wizard 5/Mindbender 1/Incantatrix 10/Divine Oracle 3/Sacred Exorcist 1.

Bard 7/Abjurant Champion 2/Divine Crusader 1/Sublime Chord 1/Mystic Theurge 9.

I can think of several more builds if you want. There's actually a great Bard one with Iniate of Mili stored around somewhere. 

But flawlessness aside, no. You're wrong. Because in a discussion of optimized builds, Skill Focus(Speak Language) doesn't exist.



Antimagic field. Next. Casters are strong, yes, flawless, no. Theoretically they are I suppose, but in practice they hardly stack up to flawless. Just because your a teir 1 doesn't mean you don't have a weakness. I could get into the how's and why's of this, but I don't feel like writing a thesis right now, and that would severely detract from the point of the thread (even more so than Im doing know really). 


To say that the feat is bad because it doesn't kill the enemy is also a bad argument since living long enough to do anything is key in any kind of combat role. After all it's kind of hard to kill someone when you yourself are dead from their full power leap attack with the full serving of uber charger sauce. By investing in a few feats and using a reach weapon you can effectively shut down the primary damage source for most melee specialists at any time you take an action by designating them as your dodge. I honestly think you seriously undervalue the ability of this feat when used properly.

And this is how I know you aren't used to people knowing their stuff. Immediate action teleport cloak from DotU. Never leave home without it. Basic protections are something you should have with WBL, not by wasting feats.

You are wrong. It's a truly awful feat.Worse than SF(Speak Language) under most circumstances.



So your reasoning for why a feat you have all the tie is bad is a use per day magic item? That's kind of week. Not even counting that it has 3 charges per day, it's 10 feat of movement only, whats your plan for dealing with an enemy with exceptional reach like a dragon?  Heaven forbid your dealing with multiple chargers. I can see it now.

"The Orc charges you and swings with his falchion"

"I teleport away as an immediate action!"

"Okay, the second orc charges you with his falchion. He deals 300 damage."

"I'm dead."

To add on top of all of that, you cant take immediate actions until you've acted in the initiative order. So if you rely on this item to get out of the way of a minotaur bearing down on you, you better hope you beat him in the turn order otherwise your going spalt. Personally the only thing I think I like about this item is the fact that it gives a deflection bonus which can be increased with the options in magic item compendium, freeing up a ring slot. Otherwise, I'd take the feat if i wanted to consistently negate power attack in a reliable fashion.

Anyway, I feel like I'm keeping this off of topic, so I think I'm done perusing this for now.

Antimagic field. Next. Casters are strong, yes, flawless, no.


Theoretically they are I suppose, but in practice they hardly stack up to flawless. Just because your a teir 1 doesn't mean you don't have a weakness. I could get into the how's and why's of this, but I don't feel like writing a thesis right now, and that would severely detract from the point of the thread (even more so than Im doing know really).  

Wrong. No weaknesses is precisely waht tier 1 means.
So your reasoning for why a feat you have all the tie is bad is a use per day magic item? That's kind of week.

No. My point was such a pathetically weak feat is worthless, and if you really need it, a basic defensive item replaces it for a few thousand GP.
Not even counting that it has 3 charges per day, it's 10 feat of movement only, whats your plan for dealing with an enemy with exceptional reach like a dragon?

Because dragons always move directly adjacent to you? And because you won't have layered protection anyways? lolno.
Heaven forbid your dealing with multiple chargers. I can see it now.

Deny them a line. Also, the multiple chargers line totally invalidates your argument for Elusive Target anyways.
"The Orc charges you and swings with his falchion"

"I teleport away as an immediate action!"

"Okay, the second orc charges you with his falchion because you were idiotic enough to leave him a line. He deals 300 damage."

"I'm dead and I totally deserved it. Why didn't I pack several miss chances? Or even Ironguard?"


To add on top of all of that, you cant take immediate actions until you've acted in the initiative order. So if you rely on this item to get out of the way of a minotaur bearing down on you, you better hope you beat him in the turn order otherwise your going spalt. Personally the only thing I think I like about this item is the fact that it gives a deflection bonus which can be increased with the options in magic item compendium, freeing up a ring slot. Otherwise, I'd take the feat if i wanted to consistently negate power attack in a reliable fashion.

And if you can't beat a minotaur in initiative, you have some serious problems. With the gauntlet of I'm Going First, a Belt of Battle, and the Vagabond Sandle's you're looking at +11 before improved initiative or any other modifiers.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Wrong. No weaknesses is precisely waht tier 1 means.

Every class has a weakness - it's called the DM. Any character you build, I can build one which is identical and just, like, slap another level on it. Bang, I've got something which can beat your "flawless" class.
You made a very broad, general statement, and are now arguing in specifics. Both your builds are L20. You're talking about an item from a not-so-mainstream book which you can't even afford by the book until L5, and other items. You're then saying that you should have packed extra defenses when citing this as the sole reason you don't need Evasive Reflexes. You're even saying a tinfoil hat protects you from AMF (and if your DM is half not dead, he'll put a stop to that sort of stuff). Besides, this whole discussion has gone far from the discussion of whether you should always use PA (and your argument seems to be "I don't need to know whether I should always use PA because I'm fairly sure I should!") which was never the topic anyway.

---

In an attempt to get back on topic, I have some notes on grappling but there's seems to be loads of it. Even just today I discovered the two Aberrant feats which grant bonuses; these aren't really mechanically superior but I didn't even know they existed. Hence, a more complete compilation would be pretty handy, I think.
Every class has a weakness - it's called the DM. Any character you build, I can build one which is identical and just, like, slap another level on it. Bang, I've got something which can beat your "flawless" class.


You made a very broad, general statement, and are now arguing in specifics.

No. I was quite specific from the beginning.
Both your builds are L20.

And are perfectly functional at every level up to that, too.
You're talking about an item from a not-so-mainstream book

So?
which you can't even afford by the book until L5, and other items.

It's a good thing charging doesn't come on line until level 6 at the earliest.
You're then saying that you should have packed extra defenses when citing this as the sole reason you don't need Evasive Reflexes.

First off, you should have these defenses anyways. Second, it's not the sole reason, which you know, but are too busy trolling to acknowledge. Third, I've said nothing about evasive reflexes.
You're even saying a tinfoil hat protects you from AMF (and if your DM is half not dead, he'll put a stop to that sort of stuff).

Irrelevent and completely wrong.
Besides, this whole discussion has gone far from the discussion of whether you should always use PA (and your argument seems to be "I don't need to know whether I should always use PA because I'm fairly sure I should!") which was never the topic anyway.

In order: I don't care, that's not what I said, and yes it was on topic, which is why reading is cool and something you should learn.
In an attempt to get back on topic, I have some notes on grappling but there's seems to be loads of it. Even just today I discovered the two Aberrant feats which grant bonuses; these aren't really mechanically superior but I didn't even know they existed. Hence, a more complete compilation would be pretty handy, I think.

How is a completely worthless feat relevent at all. Should we include Skill Focus(Speak Language) in a skill bonus guide?
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
How is a completely worthless feat relevent at all. Should we include Skill Focus(Speak Language) in a skill bonus guide?

Dude, do you know what a compilation is? In fact, do you know how guides and handbooks work? Clearly not. So, please cease your idle comments.
Now I am quite sure you're trolling. Please take it elsewhere, we were having a fine discussion here.

No, you weren't. You were derailing a thread which I started to ask a serious question. If you want to take your discussion to your own thread, feel free, but either way, give it a break.
EA, before you continue insulting the people who haven't read as much as you have, could you please share your thoughts on this XKCD? It doesn't look like the OP is getting a better answer anyway.

EDIT: link fixed 

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

EA, before you continue insulting the people who haven't read as much as you have, could you please share your thoughts on this XKCD? It doesn't look like the OP is getting a better answer anyway.

Link is broken, FYI.

But my opinion? Like many things, it depends on context. In this case, I already provided the information. So, in the beginning, that would have been a reasonable thing to post. However several posts and a hissy fit from the OP(At least, given him bringing up rule zero, I seriously hope that's what it is) later, we're far enough past it that it doesn't matter.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Because in an online discussion of optimization, poorly optimized or unoptimized builds just don't matter.

This seems to get at the crux of your error. Irrelevance is not the same as nonexistence. Your statement is still flat-out wrong even if the counterexamples will not come up in play.


Additionally, poor options actually do have relevance to a community primarily concerned with comparing the value of various options. It will typically not be useful to enumerate all the bad options, but their existence should at least occupy a place in the back of our minds.


No, not really. Coming up with bizarre niche situations is not a valid rebuttal.

It really is.

I’ve removed content from this thread because trolling/baiting is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_...

Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively.

If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the Report Post button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
 
EA, you seem knowledgeable but I'm puzzled by your assumption that an optimized build only needs to consider specific opponents (i.e. ones that are optimized following your criterions).

In the context of discussing a build or set of builds (here, Power Attackers), I find it very important to point out what kind of kryptonite opponents may bring to bear.


About grappling: it's fairly easy to reach very high Grappling bonuses, but the restriction on size differences can be a problem (due to typical monsters increasing in size with CR) so that magic of some form is generally needed.
And the kryptonite here is naturally Freedom of Movement, and teleporting to a lesser extent.

OoP's characters
My current character in Real Adventures Play-by-Post games:

 

  • Maeve in The Lost History of Istar


 
EA, you seem knowledgeable but I'm puzzled by your assumption that an optimized build only needs to consider specific opponents (i.e. ones that are optimized following your criterions).

I'm not sure what you mean. One should only counter that which is threatening.
In the context of discussing a build or set of builds (here, Power Attackers), I find it very important to point out what kind of kryptonite opponents may bring to bear.

But the issue is there isn't any real "kryptonite," which is a term I hate to use due to both DC's inferiority and Supe's massive Mary Sue-ness. What does Elusive Target even do? Lets you designate one target, and makes it so you might be able to survive an attack routine if you're lucky and the attacker is unprepared. And even if you manage to save yourself from one attacker, which is questionable anyways, there's nothing preventing Power Attacker B from walking up and chunky salsa-ing you. It's pathetic when it comes to protection.
About grappling: it's fairly easy to reach very high Grappling bonuses, but the restriction on size differences can be a problem (due to typical monsters increasing in size with CR) so that magic of some form is generally needed.
And the kryptonite here is naturally Freedom of Movement, and teleporting to a lesser extent.

It's far too easy to shut down and really isn't worth the risks. It's a bad deal.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Regarding PA optimization, one of the two characters I'm currently playing is a mini-ubercharger, among other things, so it's something that I pay a lot of attention to.  I've spent a lot of time looking at the math for "proper" power attacking, and here is what I found:

1.  At low levels, before I was able to qualify for easy multipliers like valorous weapons and Leap Attack, as well as easy ways to mitigate the attack loss (my build uses Shock Trooper, whereas if I was a more standard gish it would be persistent Wraithstrike or something), running the PA calculator to find the ideal number against most ACs was a pretty big deal.  In these circumstances, Tempest is absolutely correct - going max PA every time does not actually result in the highest damage.

2.  Level 6 was the big deal for me - I picked up an iterative attack, Shock Trooper and Leap Attack all at the same time.  Now, when I was able to get Shock Trooper off, this was basically a no-brainer: I charge, PA for full with Shock Trooper and Leap Attack, and turn my enemies into a fine mist.  That being said...

3. ...on instances where I could NOT get Shock Trooper off (more on that later), that PA calculator suddenly becomes super important again.  See, I picked up enough other damage bonuses from my weapon that the potential damage loss from missing on my iterative attack was not worth the extra gain I got from Power Attacking.  So, I had various AC benchmarks where certain PA solutions were more valuable than others.

4.  I'm level 15 now, and the above has more or less remained true.  If I can charge with Shock Trooper, there's no real downside to going PA for full.  If I can't, I've got to pull out the calculator.

5.  OK, here's a kind of big deal.  Most of the major damage multipliers (Battle Jump, Leap Attack, valorous, etc.) all rely on a charge.  The most common penalty mitigator, Shock Trooper, also relies on a charge.  The thing is, there WILL be circumstances where you are unable to charge.  If this isn't true for you, then I suspect you have either never played a charger, or you have a DM that seems to think combat should take place in a weird featureless plain.

Now, I know that my character's damage output drops considerably if I can't charge, so I've dedicated some resources to being able to move.  I've got Anklets of Translocation, the Sudden Leap maneuver, and I bought wands of Benign Transposition for the party.  Even with all this, in at least one quarter of all my encounters, I run into a circumstance where I can't freely charge.  Maybe I'm in a tunnel with restricted movement.  Maybe I'm in a room with low ceilings and difficult terrain that I can't jump or fly over.  Maybe there's an enemy with lockdown techniques barring me from charging any available targets, so I have to find a different approach.

I can still deal respectable damage without a valorous leap attacking shock trooper charge, but simply PAing for full is NOT, I repeat NOT the ideal circumstance in most situations.  Don't believe me?  Here are some actual numbers!

Without all my charging bonuses and Shock Trooper, I'm still a character with +14 BAB and +9 Strength.  My non-charging attack routine is +28/+23/+18.  My weapon, a large +1 valorous wrathful healing longspear that I always have GMW on for a +4 bonus, deals 2d6+17 points of damage per hit when I'm not charging, assuming that I don't have any other enchantments on it.  (I usually do, by the way - but that actually makes these figures further lean toward dedicating LESS to PA, not more).

So, let's say I'm attacking an enemy with an AC of 15.  That's a LOW AC for this ECL - I can't actually remember the last time I've gone after someone with an AC lower than 24 short of touch attack shenanigans.

Against AC 15, if I PA for full (-14, as I'm one points shy of full BAB), my average damage is  125.84.  If I PA for 13, my average damage is 126.5.  If I PA for 12, my average damage is 126.72.  -12 is the peak in this particular instance - if I drop my attack bonus to -11, I go back to 126.5 damage, etc.

OK, so even against a super low AC of 15, my average damage is actually slightly better by power attacking for 12 rather than for 14.  But whatever, that's not even by a full point, so it doesn't ACTUALLY make much of a difference, right?  Well, hang on, let's take my last enemy, a weird mutated giant with an AC of 24.  (Again, that's one of the lowest we've faced in a long time - we've been fighting dragons lately, and they've had ridiculous ACs).

Well DANG, if I can't get my full charging off, that's actually a significant drop.  Power attacking for the full 14 points is an average of 51.48 damage.  That's less average damage than if I had not used PA at all - without PA, I would average 69.96.  The sweet spot in this instance is -6, where I average 83.16.

And sure, this is a far cry from the 500+ points of damage I usually do when I am fully buffed and get off a complete charge with all appropriate goodies.  Talking about a difference of 31 points of damage seems silly in that case.  But it makes a difference, and the fact that I've played around with a good PA calculator has probably, over the course of this game, been worth thousands of points of damage and a lot of dead guys.  If you just assume that PAing for full is that right decision all the time, you're either only playing on paper under ideal circumstances, or you're cheating yourself.
About grappling: it's fairly easy to reach very high Grappling bonuses, but the restriction on size differences can be a problem (due to typical monsters increasing in size with CR) so that magic of some form is generally needed.
And the kryptonite here is naturally Freedom of Movement, and teleporting to a lesser extent.

Oh yeah, grappling is I think very much not a high-level tactic, and is hardly going to be a foolproof tactic (but again, a smart DM will occasionally throw you up against something your key tactic - whatever it is - doesn't work so well against anyway). I have on occasion wanted to build one, however (mostly just for the hell of it, perhaps precisely because it's not largely considered a strong option) in which case having a few notes on the subject is handy.

Also, since it seems as though there are no decent compilations anyone knows of for these things (love the Dispelling/Counterspelling one ;)) beyond the BBC guide, I might split this off into separate topics.
Try here:
www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t...
This guy has some Handbooks that are quiet good.
Hope you find this useful 
1.  At low levels, before I was able to qualify for easy multipliers like valorous weapons and Leap Attack, as well as easy ways to mitigate the attack loss (my build uses Shock Trooper, whereas if I was a more standard gish it would be persistent Wraithstrike or something), running the PA calculator to find the ideal number against most ACs was a pretty big deal.  In these circumstances, Tempest is absolutely correct - going max PA every time does not actually result in the highest damage.


It's not quite just the low levels, but the conditions where you consider less-than-max PA are much more common there.

Specifically, those conditions are at least one of:
1) Very high enemy ACs when you lack easy ways to bypass them, or
2) Lower absolute output from using Power Attack (here, lower base attack to feed into it and fewer multipliers).

A high-level meleeist can easily bypass the first one if he values his job, and the second comes part and parcel with Power Attack Specialization - but situations still emerge where one of those conditions might show up.

The earlier example in this thread was Elusive Target's Negate Power Attack (which flat-out removes the bonus damage against your dodge target), but you don't have to go that extreme. If you're using Power Attack without ubercharging, it's not going to be hard to run into situations where the second condition might not carry enough weight, even in the mid levels.




EDIT: I just made my Power Attack calculator compatible with multipliers, add-on boosts (like Leap Attack and Supreme Power Attack) and Shock Trooper. Figured why not put it out there in public (downloadable XLS spreadsheet). It already includes critical hits and natural 1s, and accounts for DR and miss chances. It does not yet account for extra attacks at your max bonus (i.e. Haste, Whirling Frenzy) but I'll get those in there soon.

According to Optimization By The Numbers, CR 8 foes average 20 AC (and I assumed no DR or miss chances). According to the DMG and MIC's guidelines, a level 8 character can expect to have a +2 weapon and a +2 ability booster. Using the standard PC array and putting the 15 in Strength, it becomes 17 by 8th (effectively 19 with buffs). I've filled out the sample sheet with numbers assuming such a character, armed with a +1 Valorous greatsword. The character has Power Attack (assumed by using the sheet) and Leap Attack (the +100% Bonus Power Attack) in this example. We'll also assume he has the option of using Pounce, and that he's charging (see the +2 Atk+ entry). This is a pretty basic charger character.

As you can see, in this scenario, the optimal Power Attack is not max. Rather, if you're attacking once, it's -7. If you're pouncing, it's actually lower, at -2. And if you're not charging at all (and thus lack Leap Attack - set that 100 bonus power attack to 0 - nor Valorous (set the damage multiplier to 1) and the bonus accuracy from a charge - set the Atk+ to 0), you'll see the optimal power attack drops to -3 or -2! And this is against an average opponent from your CR, and we're outside the lower levels.

Of course, if you're ubercharging and have Shock Trooper, this quickly changes (max it out no matter what). But it's still pretty easy to show that without that level of accuracy, under pretty baseline benchmark assumptions (even tailored slightly for a charger) scenarios will exist where max PA is not the optimal goal.

I still stand by "Max is the best default assumption", though - it's not tricky to reach that point and most meleeists should do so (or risk doing their jobs poorly). But "Max is the best default assumption" is a far cry from "Max is the only option period".

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Except you're assuming you won't have an easy way to lower an enemy's AC at the drop of a hat easily, which is obviously false.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Except you're assuming you won't have an easy way to lower an enemy's AC at the drop of a hat easily, which is obviously false.


Download the sheet and let's work that in there.

As an example of dropping enemy AC easily, I'll use my character here. I'm playing a hexblade who is NOT an ubercharger (he's got Power Attack and that's about it - his role is numeric hosing, especially saving throws and action economy). His at-will debuff arsenal is typically Dark Companion (-2 AC) and Imperious Command (Cowering foes (-2 AC and loss of Dex); I have enough passive save/check penalties and a quicker-than-usual Intimidate, so it's rare that anything not immune to fear doesn't cower when I tell them to) - I can go much deeper down the debuff rabbit hole than that, but those two don't require any limited resource expenditure (just one move action), so they're used pretty often - and another party member has Inspire Courage up to +4 at the moment (and enough songs to pull it off every encounter, so it's also a similarly always-on effect). On the sheet, that's +4 Atk+, +4 Dmg+, and the AC effectively lowers by... let's say 5 (-4 from debuffs, -1 from loss of Dex - the truncated average difference between AC and flat-footed AC at CR 8).

Plugging these values in for level 8 on a NON-ubercharger (0% bonus PA, multiplier 1, using a +2 greatsword) and we find optimal normal PA is -6 and the optimal full-attack is -5, not -8.

Plugging these values in on the Ubercharger given earlier and, without Shock Trooper, they're also -6 and -5. If he can't charge, the optimal PA falls to -6 and -4.

Exactly what methods are you referring to that give you a bigger-than-9-point swing in effective AC drop? Using the numbers from the very first example (a non-shock-trooper ubercharger), you'd have to be doing a single strike against AC 12, or a full attack against AC 9, before max PA becomes the optimal example. (EDIT: If this seems a bit odd, because of the 8-point swing to hit AC 12 being smaller than the 9-point above, it's because of the increased bonus damage from Inspire Courage meaning less PA is actually needed for the same damage output.)

Don't take my word for it. Play with the math yourself. You'll see what I mean.

(EDIT: The difference between the optimal and max results is usually pretty small - on the order of 10% unless the multipliers get insane - so if you don't know the exact AC your enemy is using, a max PA is still a good enough baseline assumption to start.)

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Tempest, you didn't know? In EAtopia, every melee character has at least minimal arcane casting so that they can ALWAYS use wand-chambered greatsword with an Eternal Wand of Wraithstrike.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Tempest, you didn't know? In EAtopia, every melee character has at least minimal arcane casting so that they can ALWAYS use wand-chambered greatsword with an Eternal Wand of Wraithstrike.


And the sheet I linked can check that. Assume that the arcane casting was picked up through Magical Training or something for no loss of base attack. (Also assume that it's an actual wand of wraithstrike, as an eternal wand is a wondrous item and not something that can be plugged into a chamber, but that doesn't matter here - it's someone using Wraithstrike with reasonable consistency that matters.) Average CR 8 touch AC is 11. Take the very first example, change absolutely nothing except the effective AC, and you find that you do, in fact, get optimal PA of -8... for single attacks only. If you're pouncing, it's -7. Hmm. Look at that.

Of course, on the full attack -7 vs AC 11, the expected damage is 91.35. The max PA expected damage is 90.72. This is why I keep saying that max PA is still a good assumption in almost every case - it's less than one point of expected damage difference! (The biggest differences between max and optimal that I've seen using realistic numbers from Optimization By The Numbers are about 25% lower for maxing it out, with most of them being closer to 10%. The more steps you take to negate the two conditions described above, the smaller those margins get - which is why Wraithstrike on a minor ubercharger only differs by a 1 point between optimal and max.)

Basically, this entire exercise shows you how much it costs to not focus heavily on accuracy and multiplication on Power Attack. If you don't use them, your damage can be up to ~25% lower than it would be otherwise.

Edit: Okay, now it does haste-style extra attacks. If the effect comes with a penalty to attack (Whirling Frenzy, Flurry) include that in the "Atk+" box.


EDIT: While adding that in, I noticed a slight bug in how I implemented the damage multipliers (i.e. Valorous). Fixing that causes this example to work with -8/-8, assuming you've got a multiplier from somewhere (as in the above example). It wasn't a massive change, but it adds up at high PAs and on full attacks. ALthough the expected damage is much higher (around 130), the difference between -8 and -7 is only about three points. Same basic moral as above.
Be advised that if you can't charge, this example plummets: Even with Wraithstrike, optimal PA for a single hit is still -8, but for a full attack it's -6. The difference between optimal and max full attack expected damage is 0.66 damage - less than one point. Again, max PA is not optimal, but is still a great assumption and starting point most of the time.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Sigh...

Like, seriously people. Marbles are, like, 1sp. If you can't hit with such basic equipment, urdoinitwrong.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Sigh...

Like, seriously people. Marbles are, like, 1sp. If you can't hit with such basic equipment, urdoinitwrong.



2 SP, actually.  They also...



  • ...only cover a five-foot square,

  • ...are useless against anyone with ranks in Balance,

  • ...are useless against Huge or larger enemies,

  • ...are useless against enemies with multiple legs,

  • ...are useless against enemies that fly, float, etc.


If your DM lets such basic equipment completely screw over every monster, he'sdoinitwrong.

(Also, can someone tell me what kind of an action it is to spread marbles/caltrops?  I've had some DMs tell me it's a free action like dropping an item, while others have said it's a standard action because you're not just dropping them in place, you're spreading them in a 5x5 area.  I've checked the PHB, A&EG and 3.5 FAQ, and I can't seem to find anything in that regard.)
And balancing denies Dex, which I included above (use ff_AC). It buys one point of AC reduction at this CR.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.